For most, the first thing that comes to mind when you think ‘Cornwall’ is the county’s iconic coastline. Rugged cliffs, crashing waves – and, in high season, overrun with tourists (even on a misty day, the beaches at St Ives were covered in holidaymakers). But somehow, G and I managed to discover a really beautiful treasure. Portheras Cove has everything to love about the astonishing Cornish coast, but none of the noise, litter, and busyness caused by too many visitors.
Portheras Cove is hidden away between Pendeen and Morvah on the West Cornish coast. It requires a somewhat challenging walk along a cliff path, down a steep track and over a mound of boulders to get to the beach itself, but your efforts are immediately rewarded. It’s a stunning sandy stretch of maybe 200-300m, lined by a jagged cliff edge which itself hides a cave. The water is astonishing, but rife with riptides – you can go in, but you must be extremely careful as there is no lifeguard. Despite its relatively short length it’s one of those places you can stay for hours upon and and still not want to leave.
We heard Portheras Cove described as a ‘local’ beach. It’s taken care of by members of the small local community and it’s very much a well-kept secret. We had the whole beach to ourselves for a few hours, and otherwise shared it with a young family, a couple around our age and an elderly couple. Admittedly we went in the evening which was slightly cooler, but spending the closing hours of the day there only sweetened the intimacy and magic.
There’s a surprising amount to explore and the view is constantly shifting with the ocean. We found a jellyfish along the shoreline and spotted a couple of seals peeping at us out of the water. There are rocks to climb on, a sweet stream running down to the sea edge and, on a good evening, the sunset is breathtaking. In fact, Portheras Cove was so good we went twice, having a miniature beach barbecue there on our final evening. And who can blame us? I’ve never seen a more perfect beach.